Company vehicle accidents can be complicated, primarily because there are various causes of these accidents, as well as various parties that can be held liable. Examples of parties that might be held responsible in a company vehicle accident or commercial vehicle crash include:
The Company That Owns the Vehicle
An employer may be held liable for the actions of its employee when an employee commits a wrongful act, and that wrongful act occurred within the scope of employment.
For example, if a delivery truck driver causes a crash by running a red light, the company that owns the delivery truck and employs the driver may be held liable if the employee was “on the clock” at the time of the accident and was operating within the course of employment.
Keep in mind that even if the company does not employ the driver ─ such as if the driver is a third-party contractor ─ the company may still be held liable for the driver’s actions under the theory of negligent entrustment. This theory holds that a vehicle owner can be held liable for the negligence of a party to whom they have entrusted their vehicle.
Additionally, a company may be held liable for failing to train a driver properly, failing to maintain or service vehicles, or failing to inspect vehicles.
The Company Vehicle/Commercial Vehicle Driver
There are some cases where the driver of a vehicle may be held liable for damages resulting from a wreck that he or she caused, even if the driver is an employee of the owner of the vehicle.
For example, if a delivery driver was off the clock but had permission to use the vehicle to get from company headquarters to home, and the driver was involved in a crash during this journey, the company may not be held liable, depending on the circumstances.
Another Third Party
Not all company vehicle accidents are caused by the driver of the vehicle involved in the crash. Some are the result of the negligence of other third parties.
For example, a third-party driver may rear-end a company vehicle, causing the vehicle to be pushed into your own car. Or a crash may be the result of a vehicle defect, such as defective brakes, in which case the vehicle part manufacturer or distributor may be to blame.
It is best to work with an experienced Abilene company vehicle accident attorney when determining liability for a company vehicle crash. Your attorney will thoroughly investigate the accident to determine what happened and who is to blame.